Warming “can be affordably managed”

Moving to a “green” global economy could not only protect the earth from the worst effects of climate change but is affordable, according to the environmental organisation WWF. Figures in a new study, Pathways to a Low Carbon Economy, show that global warming can be kept below 2º degree Celsius and that such action is within humanity’s means.


Prepared by McKinsey & Company and sponsored in part by WWF, the study – released in Brussels on Monday — spells out the costs of cutting carbon emissions, but makes it clear that only by acting now will the world avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The price would be less than half a 1% of global GDP.


The detailed study lists more than 200 opportunities, spread across 10 sectors and 21 geographical regions, to cut total global greenhouse-gas emissions by about 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The findings are presented in the form of an “abatement cost curve” that graphically illustrates the sectors where the most cost-effective carbon reductions can be made. They include power generation, the agriculture and forestry sectors, and energy.


By 2030, according to the study, wind, solar and other sustainable renewable energy could provide almost a third of all global power needs; energy efficiency could reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by more than a quarter, and deforestation in developing countries could be almost fully halted.


“As governments now invest in rebuilding the global economy,” said WWF director-general James Leape, “they have a unique opportunity, and indeed the imperative, to build a low-carbon economy that will both create jobs and stabilise the climate. The low-carbon technologies and production models already exist and they make economic as well as environmental sense.”


See full story